Rev. Moses Oluwaferanmi is a sport administrator and the founder of CFAS Sport Academy. He has been involved, for over two decades in grooming young talents in the round leather game, some of these players (both male and female) have represented Nigeria in the national teams, local leagues and others now ply their trade in other places. CFAS Academy which has been operational in Osun state was recently brought to ondo state by Oluwaferanmi, who hope, with necessary support, to continue his love for honing the skills of young people in the game.
In this interview with our editor, Kris Obiaje and David Fidelis, he spoke about his background, the journey so far in industry, his future plans for CFAS Academy and how he intends to combine sports and education for national unity and development, EXCERPT…
My name is Rev. Moses Oluwaferanmi, I was born in Ibadan, but I am a native of Ede in State of Osun. I am a young man of God and I have passion for sports, especially soccer, I’ve been on it for long and to the glory of God I can stand to attest to some level of achievements. I attended St. Thomas’s Primary School, Ibadan; Igbami College, Ibadan and the Polytechnic, Ibadan. Though I didn’t finish the programme, as a result of financial constraints plus polygamous family problems. Basically, I grew up in Ibadan, oyo state.
CFAS Sport Academy
My academy is called Silver Sport International Soccer Academy, also know as CFAS Sport Academy. It was formally known as Donald Babes Football Club in Ibadan, Oyo State . The idea of the academy is to groom budding footballers. It is more of catching them young.we see from experience that most people who pursue career in sport, especially football, do so at the detriment of acquiring quality education.
So, at CFAS academy, we said why not combined sport training with education? So the idea is that, while you grow your talent, you also get educated along the way.
The experience so far and why I became the minister of the Gospel?
I am one of the pioneer grassroots football developers in Nigeria. The journey has been exciting as it has been daunting. Until recently when footballers began bringing home mega dollars; parent rarely want to associate their children with the sport.
So, like music, some parents think football is for the no do-gooders, the ruffians and thugs. But thank God, the game now pays. So, not minding the frustration and challenges we have encountered with parents of my trainees, some parents in the past even went to the extent of arresting us, take us to police stations, harass us and some will take their children away, just to drive home their points that fOotball wasn’t their preferred career for such wards. But we never relented.
On the long run, the call of God came. When God called me, I was skeptical in the beginning, asking why must it be me? As an individual, I had a very rough beginning. More or less a street kid. So, I said why will God want to call someone like me?
Therefore, I refused to heed his call. It got to stage, I was almost going mad. One day, I trekked from Apata to Challenge in Ibadan. when I got close to where Iyalode ‘s status is erected, an unseen hand touched me concomitant with a voice saying ” You are the Chosen One, go and Carry God’s Cross, “. At that stage, I was confused, I had to go back to my parent, to asked them circumstances surrounding my birth.
Responding to my questions, my mother said that after giving birth to my elder brother, she had a delay in conceiving another baby. Getting frustrated with the situation, my father took her to a prayer mountain where they met one Baba Abiye at Ede, Osun State. She said, on the mountain , there was a small Well, where Baba Abiye fetched a cup of water for my mother to drink and they prayed for the fruit of the womb. After the prayers, Baba Abiye told my parent that the expectant child shall be a man of God.
I was unaware of this background information up to that moment! When my mother told me this story , I went back to Ibadan and started praying; moving close to people who were close to God. Before then, I do not pray or was even a regular church goer. God himself started teaching me things I didn’t know. I joined a commission then called New Covenant Church under the watch of Rev. Paul Jinad where I grew to the rank of Assistant Pastor. After this was when I went to Faith International Bible College for formal pastoral training.
So you abandoned your football grooming idea after the call?
No! I didn’t ignore the club or abandoned my vision, rather I kept someone in charge. Though, I later found out that things were not moving promisingly and smoothly like when I was there myself.
Later, when I discovered that some atrocities were going on in the club, I had to put an end to it. I shut it down!!
How the idea of the academy was developed
To the glory of God, it’s a vision in passion, I didn’t jump into it without good idea.
It’s a vision, because God has sent me to gain and rebuild souls for Chris through football. So, football in my hands is just a channel to bring back people to God, as well as ensuring that I contribute my quota to the development of our country Nigeria. The vision is basically the development of grassroots talents.
With my experience in sports, I discovered that football usually destroy people’s lives. Out of 100% , only a minute 2% players mostly gets to the peak or zenith of their career. Because once you are aged, football will dump you. In other words, in sports, there are no encouragement, support, sponsors etc. Experience of aged footballer going through hard time are testimony to my observation.
Football clubs or countries, when they have used a player and he’s of age, they will dump him. For instance, Taiwo Akinsola was my wife, played for Nigeria. In 2005 when they represented Nigeria in the under 17 championship in Norway, after their return, they were given N23,000. Can you imagine that? You can see that it’s quite nauseating and infuriating! After all the efforts and work.
But for some players who were or have been lucky to play in good leagues and clubs and who failed to plan for the future when they made good money, you can see where their stories ended with getting education when they were supposed to. So, CFAS want to change that.
In our curriculum we have various courses that people could study and plan for the future. If you couldn’t end up as footballer, your dream shouldn’t end there. You can become a trainer, coach, manager and many other things in the sport industry.
I discovered that the main reason why people suffer in the sport profession is the fact that there are nothing they can fall back on after retirement. Our curriculumis 21st century-compliant, and after graduation, certificates are issued to graduands. This could make them become a better sport administrators, managers, local government sports directors etc. Our school in ondo state would provide solid, responsible players for clubs and to the greater benefit of Ondo State and Nigeria at large.
So our idea is multidimensional, because it has to do with education and sports. After the peak of your career, if you have education, you will definitely have something to rely on.
I’ve discovered that football is a unifying factor and a vital tool to national development . So if our government can tap into this idea and understand the concept behind it, the society shall be the ultimate benefactor.
When the idea took hold
It was actually in December 2005, since I already have the vision, what I did was to register the academy with a football body called Youths Sports of Nigeria, YSFON. After this , my team played a Commissioner cup competition in Oyo state where we came second and which later paved way for my us to play in Spain. But along the line, we couldn’t meet up with the tour of Spain. Several challenge s cropped up such as financial constraints coupled with the dubious activities travel agents we were collaborating with.
And to the glory of God, I’ve trained many players who are currently playing in the country and across Europe. For instance, Oluwatobilola Susan is currently in Lokoja playing for the confluence queens. She is a product of our academy.
The first academy established in Oyo State, why did you shut it down?
Actually, we didn’t shut down, we already have the building, infrastructures, so it can’t be shut down. The place temporarily is experiencing some hiatus. We shall be up and running again in oyo state sooner.
Now, we are trying to replicate what we started there here in Ondo State for the benefit of the people as well as to contribute our quota to the development of sports in the state and the nation at large.
So, how far with the ondo academy?
No! We’ve not. We have seen a good location in a serene environment, but we are still battling with financial constraint. Football academy is capital intensive and my personal efforts have taken us to certain level. But we need help to go full course.
So you are seeking for Partners?
Yes! We would very glad if we ca have interested investors who will marry our idea with their financial muscles. The vision of our academy us that which is designed to bring benefits to all stakeholders – investors, students, entrepreneurs and the society. We seek investors so as to rub minds together and have a memorandum of understanding towards a fruitful engagement.
They are people out there with the means, but basically no vision. Some times as an investor or entrepreneur you need to leverage on the vision or idea of others in order to invest and grow your money. The idea we have brought is one that will sell any day!
What government can do develop grassroots sport
Government can develop sports through education, empowerment and allow skilled people who understand the secret of sports to be in charge of sports administration. The bane of our sportis when round pegs to put in square holes. Government need to leverage on the ideas people like us have so as to grow sport.
For instance, football kick against certain vices such as alcohol, drug abuse and other illicit acts. But most of the people employed by government to oversee sports development lacks the idea and doesn’t understand all these. So, these are some of the issues government must look into if they really want grassroot sports development.
And government should find a way to marry education with sport. So thast as individual develop their sporting talents, they could acquire quality education. This is what obtains in other placws, such s Europe and America.
Your soccer academy, what are the age grades that can enrol?
We have curriculum in various stages. There are ages 9-12 that we placed in the kindergarten; ages 13-16 are what we call the primary section; ages 16-20 are the secondary section, while ages 21- 25 are the tertiary level. At the end of the programme, depending on your level, certificates will be issued to successful candidates.